|Michael Bearden (second from right) with his Girlie Show bandmates - catering by Madonna|
When I spoke to Michael Bearden, keyboard player on The Girlie Show and Musical Director on the Bedtime Stories and Ray of Light promo tours, he told me about an unreleased song by Madonna, titled, wait for it… Cook and F**k.
The existence of the song first came to light in 2000 when it was listed on ASCAP's online song database, after a short instrumental version of the song was performed by Paul Shaffer and The CBS Orchestra to welcome Madonna on to the stage of The David Letterman Show in November that year.
Click here to watch Madonna’s reaction to hearing the song on her fourth Letterman appearance.
The song is credited on ASCAP to Madonna and Michael Bearden and so I asked Michael about the origins of the country-sounding song:
“This song actually started during the rehearsals for The Girlie Show. We rehearsed a long time for that show and after so many days of playing the same thing over and over again, you get a little stir crazy. One day M said, “Okay everybody, let’s do that one again”. As everybody started to re-set, I just started to play this country, Floyd Kramer-esque type piano and Niki Haris started singing the song we just finished in a southern, twangy voice. Niki is unbelievably talented! The band naturally just fell into the vibe and so did Madonna. About a week or two later, I started it up again. M was in a mood and the lyrics just evolved into Cook and F**k. I don’t remember the entire verse but I know that Cook and F**k refers to how women please their men. Trust me, it got much worse! (Laughs)
How it became registered was supposed to be a joke. M was appearing on The David Letterman Show one night and Paul Shaffer (the show’s Musical Director) called me (I often sub for him on the show) and asked what the band should play for Madonna’s walk-on. Instead of the usual Like a Virgin or something like that, I asked if I could do something as an inside joke. Paul loved the idea and I dictated the chords and the style to Paul over the phone and he executed it on the show brilliantly, as usual. M was indeed surprised and laughed about it on air. She knew that song was my doing. Because it aired on network television, it was registered.”